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Does Infy need a dose of fun?

columns Updated: Mar 17, 2014 11:55 IST
N Madhavan

Where did Infosys go wrong? This question keeps cropping up in the mind as the software giant’s difficult year continues.

Last week, as its shares plunged in response to forecasts that its revenues for this quarter will be on the lower side of its guidance, fresh doubts arose on how founder NR Narayana Murthy’s return as executive chairman would make a difference — or not.

The mood seemed in ironic contrast to the one I sensed in Ashok Soota, former president of Wipro and now chairman and founder of Happiest Minds, an IT startup focused on Social Media, Analytics, Cloud computing and analytics — now called SMAC.

The core of Happiest Minds’ strategy, from a human resource perspective, is to foster a spirit of secure collaboration and creativity among staff, not competitive aggressiveness. This focus is in contrast to the meritocratic perfectionism that Murthy has cherished.

To me, it seems there is a generational shift in India’s IT industry. The younger generation seems to prefer being happy to winning big. That may explain everything including why Soota has named his company thus.

Murthy’s company, meanwhile, is weeding out some deadwood through tests, as reports go.

There are no easy solutions or simple ways in India’s complex IT industry. But there is no doubt that Infosys could pluck a leaf or two out of Soota’s book. Because India has changed and young engineers may prefer fun bosses to figures exuding authority — except where strategic decisions are critical.